VIDEO: Some joyful, some tragic and others inspiring, heartbreaking or uplifting, these were some of the pivotal moments that marked 2011, as aggregated by Google Zeitgeist.
Despite pivotal moments in politics, the economy and global relations at large, the list of the 10 fastest-rising global queries on Google provides insight into our generation’s focus on technology, social media, entertainment and “celebrity.” Are your searches reflected on this list?
From a personal perspective, as I look back on 2011, it has been a year marked with invaluable learning experiences and opportunities, change, emotional growth, friendship, love and progress. It was also a year of loss, remembrance and gratitude.
We made it.
What did 2011 mean to you?
When I interviewed him in August for an editorial assignment with Coastal Lifestyle Magazine, Tommy Jackson had me, quite fittingly, at first note. As the sole proprietor of what has become a warmly welcomed new neighbor along Scenic Highway 30A, Tommy is passionate, to say the least. That’s because First Note Music Hall is truly inspiring, offering guests with a unique musical experience.
“The way in which we consume music has changed. We listen to music on our iPods. We’re constantly shuffling songs. I thought, ‘wouldn’t it be cool if our stage rotated like that, all in the same night?’ I don’t know of any other place in the country offering that.”
Yesterday evening, I had the opportunity to attend my first show at First Note. Beyond feeling as though I personally know Tommy, thanks to having had the opportunity to get to know the story behind First Note, I felt an instant connection to the intimate and contemporary venue located within Redfish Village. My friends and I sat to the right of the stage on a high-top that included a personalized, hand-written welcome message. As I looked around, I realized all of the venue’s tables had been personalized, immediately hitting a note with me. A personal touch to the music experience? Yes, please!
After socializing for a little bit, ordering a glass of Malbec from a rather extensive drink menu, and deciding on some yummy made-to-share appetizers, the lights dimmed and we were welcomed by Kaci Bolls, a singer-songwriter from Nashville who served as our MC and as one of the featured artists of the evening. Talk about a triple threat. As she presented the Myers Brothers Band, from Texas, I did not know what to expect, but as Jake and Jared opened up their set, they, too, had me at first note. Think Robin Thicke meets Gavin DeGraw. Listen to their“Never Quite This Way” album and let me know what you think.
Enter Geoff McBride, a soulful Santa Rosa Beach resident influenced by the likes of James Taylor and Aretha Franklin. Think only Ray Charles could cover Ray Charles? Think again. Geoff’s rendition of “Georgia on My Mind” covered me in goose bumps. From country to jazz to the blues, he has one powerful can-cover-it-all voice.
Kaci Bolls then took the stage again, this time as the Nashville-based artist that has worked with The Henningsens and CMA-winners extraordinaire The Band Perry, among others. No big deal. One of her original songs (titled “This Kind of Perfect”) is anticipated to make the cut on the Perry siblings’ sophomore album. After listening to Kaci sing it, I not only hope it makes the cut but that it lands on the radio as a single. With her beautiful vocals, depth of range and unique blend of Jewel-meets- Allison-Krauss-meets-spunky-red-headed-girl-from-Kentucky, Kaci made me a fan last night, particularly after the enchanting “Underdogs;” not to mention, she can rap! I challenge you to keep “Walmart Girl” out of your head for the next couple of hours. Then go out and buy her new album, “Underdogs and Paper Tigers,” now available.
The night’s bonus features included two dynamic duos. Sam & Ruby (Sam Brooker and Ruby Amanfu) from Nashville provided a beautiful blend of R&B, folk and pop. Their unique sound hasn’t gone by unrecognized. Joined by fellow independent artists from Nashville (“The Collective”), the duo made it to the Top 10 on this season of NBC’s The Sing Off with Nick Lachey. Tune in to NBC on November 28 and December 5 to see them perform. As if that weren’t enough, one of the duo’s original songs appeared on “The Secret Life of Bees” soundtrack. Their album, “The Here and Now,” is available on iTunes. Pop-Electro/Rock duo, The Vinyl Pinups (Brennan Aerts & Khara Lord), closed out the night on a high-energy note, complete with electric guitars, leather, and cherry lipstick. I still have “Hey, Hey You” in my head and “Don’t Call It Love” seemed to do well with the crowd, which rose to their feet, dancing and applauding as the evening came to an end.
The overall result? An intimate connection among the artists, the music, and the audience – not to mention, the opportunity to discover new artists and sounds in an unpretentious setting that highlights solely what’s important: the music and the company in which it’s enjoyed.
Without a doubt, the First Note experience has offered a fresh approach to live performances in a community that has long been a hotbed for musical artistry. And the general public, made up of locals and visitors alike, has taken a notable liking to the concept, having helped the venue sell out all of its 140 seats since kicking off a summer series in July. If First Note’s first few months have been any indication, it has hit all the right notes in the South Walton music scene.
For more information on First Note Music Call, visit www.FirstNoteMusicHall.com or call 850-622-0221. Advanced ticket ($15) purchase is strongly recommended. Pick up the October/November issue of Coastal Lifestyle Magazine to read my interview with Tommy Jackson and learn more about the story behind First Note.
Why the heck do [you] hate Tim Tebow?
“Tebow is just a guy with the good sense to say thanks. Instead of taking his cue, we mock his faith.
And that says more about us, none of it good.”
The action now known as “Tebowing” has become a viral sensation and the object of ridicule — but why? FOX Sports Columnist, Jen Engel, provides a well-written argument against the mockery aimed at Gator superstar (and Broncos newbie), Tim Tebow.
Read the full article here.
*I’m a proud graduate of the University of Florida (BS ‘07) and had the immense honor of cheering on Tebow and co. at The Swamp during some of our winningest seasons. Go Gators!
Earth: Seven Billion and Counting…
According to the United Nations (via ABC News), Earth’s 7-billionth person will be welcomed to our planet tomorrow, Monday 10/31, merely 24 hours before the mark of my 27th year on earth. Calculations indicate Number 7,000,000,000 will likely be born in India, which isn’t surprising, considering the country welcomes a newborn nearly every second and is expected to surpass China’s population in 14 years.
Needless to say, the earth’s population is growing at an exponential pace. To put it in perspective:
… in a mere decade, scientists said we’ll be preparing to welcome the 8 billionth person into the world.
Thanks to this super neat-o calculator, courtesy of BBC News, I’ve learned that
When I was born, I was the 4,806,763,941st person alive on Earth and the 79,600,146,309th person to have lived since history began.
As we await the birth of Earth’s 7-billionth baby, give it a try: what number were you?
“Being the richest man in the cemetery doesn’t matter to me … Going to bed at night saying we’ve done something wonderful… that’s what matters to me.” -Steve Jobs
…and something wonderful, he did. His vision revolutionized technology, and undoubtedly, communication. He created a brand, but most importantly, he defined a generation. Sure, I own an iPhone and a iPod, work on an iPad, love Pixar movies, and use iTunes on a regular basis, but I recognize that Steve Jobs’s impact on the industry (and quite honestly, on our way of life) is far more intangible than that.
His was a life marked by hard work, diligence, commitment, and sheer genius, which is sure to live on for generations to come. His loss to cancer is another reminder that we must truly live before we die, as Steve Jobs so beautifully put it at his Stanford University commencement speech in 2005 (video), a year after first being diagnosed.
September is Save a Koala Month!
Each koala’s “home” is made up of several trees called “home trees.” They visit these same trees regularly, marking the area called the koala’s “home range.” Habitat loss is the greatest problem facing koalas, as a result of land-clearing, bushfire and diseases affecting eucalypts. Eighty percent of their habitats have already disappeared. The Australian Koala Foundation estimates that as a result of this loss, around 4,000 koalas are killed each year by dogs and cars.
- The Australian Koala Foundation | https://www.savethekoala.com
Kooky. Charming. Awesome.
According to Gawker, Florida is the 12th worst state in America. Seriously? My hometown weekly paper, The Miami NewTimes, begs to differ — presenting 50 Reasons Florida Is the Best Effing State in America.
Having spent the majority of my life in the melting pot that is Miami Beach, then bleeding orange-and-blue in The Swamp for four years, and now living alongside the sugar-white beaches of Northwest Florida’s Gulf Coast for the past two years, I can vouch for almost all of them — DDD-breasted mannequins and all!
38. We even inspired cranky drunk Ernest Hemingway.
And yes, we have mermaids.
Do you have any other awesome reasons to add to the list of things we love about The Sunshine State?
This morning, the just-launched Amy Winehouse Foundation released the singer’s final recording, a duet with Tony Bennett (whom she called her musical hero) titled “Body and Soul,” which will be included in Bennett’s upcoming “Duets II” album.
Today would have been Amy’s 28th birthday. Her July 23 death remains unknown, with loved ones speculating that her detoxification, which was a long and aggressive process, could’ve ultimately ended her life.
The Amy Winehouse Foundation, established by Amy’s parents, aims to support charitable activities that provide care or assistance for young people who suffer from poor health, addiction, or financial disadvantage. All proceeds of the song’s sales will go directly to serve this mission. I can only hope it will help raise awareness about addiction, both for those suffering from it, as well as for their loved ones. Learn more.
9.11.01: We Will Never Forget.
I will never forget the feeling… that state of shock that lingers for days, those images that seemed too cinematic to be real, the feeling of helplessness and fear - what’s next? -the understanding that over the span of less than three hours, our world, as we knew it, had been forever changed.
As coincidence would have it, I had stayed home from school that Tuesday morning feeling ill. My brother, in middle school at the time, had taken my symptoms as an opportunity to stay home, too. I remember hearing my mother’s gasps coming from the living room, where the TV was on full blast. As I walked in from my bedroom, still sleepy-eyed and groggy, I thought the “accident” seemed too unreal to have been an accident, and before I had an opportunity to gather what was truly happening, the words “attack,” “hijacked planes,” and “terrorism” made their way onto the screen. As the second plane struck the second tower, my mom and I hugged. She said, “I am so happy you’re here.” I couldn’t possibly imagine what it’d be like to be there, to have someone there, in that flaming debris, in midst of that terror… My friends and classmates were in second period, Honors Biology I, that morning; my best friend later called me from the classroom, where everyone was also watching the tragedy play out on live television.
My generation was marked by the horrific events of September 11, 2001, but we have not been defined - not by grief or by hatred or by loss, but rather by a determination to serve our country, to stand together, to always (always!) remember.
Since that day, countless numbers of young men and women have joined the armed forces. We have been fueled by a commitment to fight for freedom to the best of our availability. We have been the faces of a war that we don’t quite understand but that has lasted for nearly half of our young adult lives. And we will prevail as a stronger, more unified, hopefully more mature generation, marked by an understanding of good and evil, of life and loss, of patriotism and hope.
Though I had been living in the U.S. for less than 10 years at the time of the September 11 attacks, I had not felt as “American” as I did that day, when I looked at all of those flags being erected on people’s balconies and yards and when every time I have sung the Star Spangled Banner since.
“…And the rocket’s red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there.
Oh, say does that star-spangled banner yet wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave?”
Today, as I get closer to celebrating my second decade as a resident of this country, as I think of all those servicemen/women whom I know and love, as I dream of one day having American children and grandchildren, and as I continue to pursue my parents’ American Dream, I know I will never forget that heart-wrenching September day. We will never forget.
How do you remember?
Americans are the Coolest. Seriously.
My native country (Argentina) is the third coolest in Latin America. Gotta love those Brazilians! :-P My maternal grandmother’s native country (España) is the coolest in Europe, followed by my father’s (and maternal grandfather’s) native country (Italia). All three made the list of the World’s 10 Coolest Nationalities, with the United States in the lead.
My current home country + my native country + my two countries of heritage… I believe this makes me one “rad” chick!
How did your countries stack up on the list? I feel really bad for the Belgians. Voters should’ve given them credit for great waffles, after all.